Action due on Dockspur

HIGHWAYS chiefs today announced long-awaited extra safety work for Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout – but it will not take place until the autumn.

By Richard Cornwell

HIGHWAYS chiefs today announced long-awaited extra safety work for Felixstowe's notorious dock spur roundabout – but it will not take place until the autumn.

As expected – and as exclusively revealed by The Evening Star last month – the scheme will involve nothing more than cosmetic work to improve road markings.

But today Highways Agency officials insisted the scheme would improve safety and cut speed, and research was continuing into more action at the junction.

They have also appealed to the ports and haulage industry to take steps to help improve safety as many lorry crashes at the A14 roundabout occur because of poor loading of the vehicles.

There have been 16 similar lorry crashes in the past six years with articulated vehicles rolling over and losing their loads as they turn right to the port – three of them since motorist Martin O'Sullivan was killed when a juggernaut flipped over onto his BMW a year ago.

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Two improvements will be made:

n Advisory speed markings will be painted on the carriageway – 20mph on the Felixstowe approach to the roundabout and 30mph on the port exit road.

n New hatching at Candlet Road exit to separate traffic going to the docks and town centre and improve the driving line for vehicles turning right.

Work will also be carried out in consultation with Suffolk County Council to the Candlet Road exit to try to stop minor accidents in which cars have shunted into each other because drivers have unexpectedly stopped to give way.

This will involve large chevron signs to restrict drivers' views of traffic on the roundabout to force them all to a complete stop.

The roundabout work has been recommended by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), which has spent ten months studying the junction and why lorries overturn.

The Highways Agency, which commissioned the TRL, said the recommendations – the cost is not known – would be carried out in the autumn.

"TRL has spent considerable time collecting and analysing information about the roundabout and the lorries going to and from Felixstowe docks," said Jamie Hassall, project manager.

"I am confident that these measures will slow HGVs and improve safety while the agency continues to look at other factors that may cause accidents at this roundabout.

"A copy of the TRL's report has also been given to the Port of Felixstowe and the Road Haulage Association as many of the accidents have been caused by poor vehicle loading or unsecured loads."

Four long term options costed at between £120,000 and £385,000 have also been drawn up involving changes to the roundabout entrance, separation of traffic going to the port and town, and making the roundabout smaller.

However, the junction – used by 6,000 lorries a day – will have to be judged in a national league table against many other blackspots to see if a major scheme can proceed and no cash bid has yet been tabled.

WEBLINKS: www.highways.gov.uk

www.suffolkcc.gov.uk